Thanks to the Jessica Jones TV series, we all know about Zebadiah Killgrave, The Purple Man.
In the comic book version, after an accidental shower in some experimental nerve gas, Killgrave could influence virtually anyone to obey his will. Not just turn them into some kind of robots--he actually makes them think that they're doing what they want to, completely replacing their will with his.
Let's watch his first appearance, in Daredevil #4 (1964):
That all seems awfully familiar, somehow...
There's someone else we know with powers like that...
It has always bothered me, even back in the 1970s, that overriding the minds of others is in the repertoire of a Jedi Knight, who allegedly shuns the Dark Side of the Force.
Obi-Wan's language tries to make it seem less menacing. "The Force can have a strong influence of the weak-minded"??? But come on now, you're not influencing them--you're making the do the exact opposite of what they wanted to do!! That's not influence, that's control!
And that "weak-minded" business? What, is it based on IQ, or will power, or what? And again, that seems to be a particularly un-Jedi like attitude: "We can totally push around dumb people!!" Isn't that the kind of people you'd think a hero would protect, not exploit?
Of course, there are plenty of rationalizations to try and explain why the Jedi are so much better than Killgrave. "It's for an important cause!" Well, that's sort of an end-justifying-the-means argument, right? And, as we sadly know, that's been the justification for many barbaric acts.
"Jedi only use that on bad guys!" Well, Qui-Gon tried to use the "Jedi mind trick" on Watto, who was irritating, but hardly a villain. So that's just incorrect on its face. And shouldn't bad guys have a right not to have their minds violated--or our civil rights not one of the things that Jedi believe in?
And let's not forget the reprisals that those "influenced" might face. We know how the Empire--and Vader in particular--punish failure. So what do you think might have happened to that stormtrooper who let the droids go right by him? Especially when his subordinates witnessed the whole thing! And when Luke "influenced"--or, to hell with that, forced Bib Fortuna to disobey direct orders from Jabba, how could he know the the Hutt wouldn't torture or kill his minion for such effrontery? Hell, even death stick guy might have experienced some serious problems with his bosses when he suddenly stops pushing their merchandise. Surely, the "harmless" Jedi mind trick has left a swath of unnoticed damage in its wake over the millennia.
And I find it interesting that, in the movies, you never see the Sith using the "violate someone's mind for your own convenience" super-power, even though seems to be, well, pretty evil. [If you want to argue that Palpatine was silently using it, especially as he tried to subvert Anakin and Luke, I'll give you a cookie for creativity...but it's really not there on screen.]
Maybe this is me just being "a hysterical SJW," as a comment on another site said about my droids/slavery piece. Heaven forbid I think about fiction. (Which makes me grateful for the commenters I do get here.) But I really do feel queasy that the power to violate someone's mind, to wipe away someone's very self, is a tool employed so casually by our heroes. Since Jedi are supposedly battling for freedom and democracy, using a tool that eliminates personal freedom seems at least counter-intuitive, if not counter-productive. And saying, "Sure, we use the same tool a villain would, but we only use it for good" isn't terribly reassuring to me, when I'm wondering if the tool itself is evil, and possibly corrupting.
And ask yourself this, if you disagree with what I'm saying here: if I then used my mind-powers to change your opinion, and make you agree with this post, why wouldn't that be wrong?
[And no, I don't care about any EU explanations. That's just post hoc rationalization, and I'm concerned here with the moral universe the movies create. If I have to read something else to properly understand the movies, that's the movies' failings, not mine.]